Local News - Issue 197

Motsepe To Sponsor SA’s Third Tier
Mamelodi Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe is set to sponsor the third tier of local football, formerly known as the SAFA Second Division. The total R40 million deal will run for five years, with the money coming via the Motsepe Foundation. The 144-team division - which SAFA has been running for the past two seasons without a benefactor - will now be known as the ABC Motsepe League, named after the mining magnate's late father. - Full Story via Kickoff

The Mamelodi Sundowns president needs to be commended for his efforts to develop the game at grassroots level, however, what the announcement has done is create a massive imbalance in our football. It now means that while the winners of the National First Division title (under the auspices of the PSL) get R300 000, those a tier lower get R1million! The NFD has always been seen as the poor step-brothers of the lucrative PSL. Compared to the PSL winners collecting a cool R10million in prize-money, the winners’ cheque for the second tier champions is but a drop in the ocean. - Full Story via Kickoff

Mamelodi Sundowns defenders Emmanuel Mathias and Hichani Himonde will be joining Zambian side Zesco United on loan for the rest of the season. Mathias, who hails from Togo, was signed by the Brazilians before the start of the season, but he’s ineligible to play because Sundowns have exhausted their foreign quota for the current campaign. - Full Story via Kickoff

Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune will be out of action for four weeks. ‘Itu’ hurt his ankle during the warm-up for the CAF Champions League match against Mozambican side Liga Muculmana. “Grade 2 Syndesmosis tear, I'll be out for 4weeks...” he tweeted on Tuesday morning. Khune will miss the second leg against Liga Muculmana, as well as key league matches against Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits and Platinum Stars.

Orlando Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic could again be absent for the league match against University of Pretoria this weekend while he waits for his work permit. Vermezovic signed for Pirates a few weeks ago but is still yet to report to work due to a delay in getting his work permit. 'VV' has been introduced to the Bucs players and watched their last match against Free State Stars at the weekend from the stands. - Full Story via Kickoff

Award-winning music producer DJ Cleo is training with Bidvest Wits reserves and is hopeful of getting a first team contract. The 34-year-old DJ, whose real name is Cleopas Monyepao, wants to emulate music legend Julio Iglesias, who played as a goalkeeper in the Spanish Second Division before his career was cut short by a car accident. “I’m still training with the Wits reserves and I’m very serious about it,” says Cleo. - Full Story via Kickoff

New Orlando Pirates signing Theophilus ‘Ronaldo’ Tsowaseb will return to the club in June. The striker recently signed a three-year contract with the Buccaneers after impressing during trials, but will be back with his Namibian team, also called Orlando Pirates, until the end of the season.“We have signed him, but he will only rejoin the team in June,” Pirates administrator Floyd Mbele said.

South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan has given an assurance that Gordon Igesund’s fate will be decided by the time Bafana Bafana start the AFCON 2015 qualifiers. Igesund has three more games as Bafana coach and with his contract expiring at the end of June, Jordaan says SAFA are well aware of the qualifiers coming up, and will waste no time after the three friendlies to make a decision about the technical team. Igesund will supervise Bafana against Brazil (on Wednesday), Australia (May 26) and a yet to be named opponent. - Full Story via Kickoff

Orlando Pirates interim coach Eric Tinkler says Lehlohonolo Majoro's fitness is not a problem, but his touch is not there yet. Pirates fans are itching to see their new signing in action following his release by Kaizer Chiefs, and then his switch to their Soweto rivals. Majoro has not played in a competitive fixture since he came on as a substitute for Chiefs in the 56th minute of a 4-1 League win over Polokwane City on 27 November. - Full Story via Kickoff

Tinkler has warned Tlou Segolela to pull up his socks in order to play regularly. Segolela has struggled for game-time at Pirates this season, and he has not featured for the club in their last two matches against Mamelodi Sundowns and Free State Stars. The last time he played was against Thanda Royal Zulu in the Nedbank Cup, where he only competed for 45 minutes before he was substituted.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt says Kaizer Chiefs will need to have a “huge meltdown” for his side to have a chance of winning the league. Wits, who beat title rivals Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on Saturday, trail log leaders Amakhosi by nine points but with a game in hand. “I think Chiefs has got to have a huge meltdown if anybody is to catch them,” said Hunt, who claimed PSL honours three times with former club SuperSport United. - Full Story via Kickoff

The Premier Soccer League has secured the copyrights to betting on its fixtures, which means more money into the league’s coffers. The League’s chairman Irvin Khoza revealed that the league had been pursuing the matter in court since 2007 and expressed his delight to come out on the winning side. "We have officially become the only league in the world to achieve this milestone," he said. - Full Story via Kickoff

First Division club Sivutsa Stars has not been bought out by multi-millionaire South African couple S'bu and Shawn Mpisane, despite recent reports. It had been reported in the media that the club had been sold to the Durban power couple, but Sivutsa Stars have denied that any transaction for the club has been agreed. "It’s not true that we want to sell the club. What happened is that the 'so-called buyers' made an offer to the chairman. The chairman said that he’ll look into it but now the indication from the chairman is that he is not willing to sell the club," said communications manager Charles Nkosi. - Full Story via Kickoff

Both Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates are chasing the signature of Black Leopards midfielder Edgar Manaka. Manaka caught the eye with an impressive performance during the Nedbank Cup Last 32 game against Kaizer Chiefs played in Limpopo recently and was named Man of the Match. The 24-year-old has been a loyal member to Leopards after going down to the First Division following their relegation two seasons ago. - Full Story via Kickoff

Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza is set to begin contract talks with Siyabonga Sangweni, despite the player’s inactivity owing to injury. Sangweni’s contract with Bucs runs until the end of June and there has been speculation regarding his future with the 2011/12 League champions. - Full Story via Kickoff

Adidas South Africa have launched the Football4All initiative, a grassroots football programme developed by former South African internationals to coach novice primary school children. “The lack of ‘development’ in local football has been a major talking point in recent months and the launch of the Football4All project couldn’t come at a better time," says George Dearnaley, former Bafana striker and director of Football4All. - Full Story via Kickoff

The draw for the Nedbank Cup Last 16 has handed Second Division side FC Buffalo a glamour tie at Premiership champions Kaizer Chiefs. Dates for the Last 16 matches are still to be announced.

AmaZulu vs Wits
Moroka Swallows vs SuperSport United
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Witbank Spurs
Kaizer Chiefs vs FC Buffalo
Platinum Stars vs Maritzburg United
African Warriors vs Milano United
Golden Arrows vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Santos vs Orlando Pirates

Rooi Mahamutsa has committed the next three years of his life to Orlando Pirates after signing a three-year extension to his contract. The 32-year-old, who has just returned to training after a long-term injury, tells the club’s website that it didn’t require too much persuasion to get him to stay. “I had a meeting with the chairman to finalise my deal,” Mahamutsa said. “The whole process was straightforward; I’ll be playing here for a further three years and now I can concentrate on getting back to full fitness so that I can do what I love – playing football.” Mahamutsa joined Pirates in 2008 from Witbank Spurs.

Cuthbert Malajila will be out of action for about four weeks with the hamstring injury that saw him miss Mamelodi Sundowns' 1-0 defeat to Orlando Pirates last Tuesday. Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has already cited the unavailability of players such as Katlego Mashego and Alje Schut as one of the factors that contributed to the defeat to Pirates. But Malajila is another man missing up-front, and the powerful striker is unlikely to be fully fit before April. - Full Story via Kickoff

Golden Arrows have trimmed their bloated squad, with former youth international striker Lucky Nguzana and ex-Chippa United midfielder Masonwabe Bovu being released. Nguzana arrived at Arrows at the beginning of last season after enduring some testing times at Mamelodi Sundowns, but has since been sacrificed along with Bovu, who also arrived last season. - Full Story via Kickoff

Nike revealed the kit that Bafana Bafana will wear in their international friendly against Brazil on March 5 in Johannesburg. The jersey is made with Nike Dri-FIT technology which aids performance by helping to regulate player body temperature over the course of a match, while pulling moisture away from the skin to the outside of the garment where it evaporates more quickly. - Full Story via Kickoff

AmaZulu have confirmed the signing of Zambian international striker Bornwell Mwape on a three-year deal. The 22-year-old will move to Durban in July and will join from Nchanga Rangers. Mwape reportedly spent a month on loan at Swedish side Malmo, but AmaZulu have won the race for his signature.

Kaizer Chiefs have received a boost after left-back Tsepo Masilela returned to training following an adductor muscle injury. Masilela has been out of action since pulling up in the 2-0 league win over Moroka Swallows on 31 January and various players have filled in at left-back in his stead, including Siboniso Gaxa, Lorenzo Gordinho and Simphiwe Mtsweni. - Full Story via Kickoff

SA players abroad
Thulani Serero played 65 minutes for Ajax Amsterdam on Sunday raising hopes he will be fit enough to face Brazil on Wednesday.

The Bafana Bafana playmaker had missed Ajax’s previous three matches with a groin problem, but was back in the starting line-up for the crucial 2-1 victory over Feyenoord that has seen the Amsterdam club open up an eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Kamohelo Mokotjo missed PEC Zwolle’s 3-3 home draw with struggling NEC in the Dutch league, but could make a return next weekend.

Anele Ngcongca’s miserable time with Genk continued as they lost 2-0 at Anderlecht. Ngcongca was at least restored to the starting line-up having been benched.

Ayanda Patosi came on for the final 13 minutes of Lokeren’s 1-0 loss at Mechelen on Friday night, yet another start from the bench for him.

Darren Keet started for Kotrijk as they raced into a 4-0 lead inside 35 minutes against Cercle Brugge and held on to that advantage to keep their slim hopes of reaching the top six alive.

Andile Jali came off the bench for KV Oostende at bottom side Mons, by which time his team was already 3-0 down, with the game ending at that same scoreline.

Phakase Mngadi was on target for Belgian second division side Eupen as they smashed Hoogstraten 6-0. Mngadi had come off the bench midway through the second half, but right-back Ntuthuko Radebe played the entire game.

Keegan Ritchie was again not involved for Slavia Prague as they won 2-1 at home to city rivals Dukla Praha.

Steven Pienaar was praised by Everton boss Roberto Martinez for his link-up play with Leighton Baines as the Toffees beat in-form West Ham 1-0 in the English Premiership.

Tokelo Rantie got the Bafana bragging rights as he came on as a second half substitute in Bournemouth’s 5-0 hammering of Bongani Khumalo and Dean Furman’s Doncaster Rovers.

The latter two both started the game but it was an afternoon to forget for them as their English Championship relegation woes deepened.

South Africa-born Andrew Surman also started for Bournemouth, but young left-back Kgosi Ntlhe was again missing for Peterborough United in their 1-0 loss to Crawley Town.

In League Two, Darren Holden continued his good run in the Hartlepool United side as they won 3-0 against bottom side Torquay United.

Daylon Claasen came off the bench for Polish side Lech Poznan in their 4-0 thumping of Piast Gliwice. He had started last week’s 5-1 loss to PogoĊ„ Szczecin.

Joel Untersee was back in the Vaduz starting line-up as the Lichstenstein side who play in the Swiss second-tier won 2-0 at Schaffhausen to remain on course for promotion at the end of the season.

Finally, Ricardo Nunes made his debut for new Bulgarian side Levski Sofia as they lost the local derby 1-0 to Lokomotiv Sofia on Friday night.